Congratulations “omnishambles,” you’ve just been named the word of the year in the UK.
The word Omnishambles was coined by the BBC political comedy show The Thick Of It to describe a situation that is in complete shambles. According to the Oxford University Press, which named the Oxford Dictionaries UK Word of the Year for 2012, omnishambles describes “a situation that has been comprehensively mismanaged, characterized by a string of blunders and miscalculations.”
The word may be new to Americans, but the AFP reports that the United States used a variation of the word during the 2012 election. “Romneyshambles” was used often on social media sites during Mitt Romney’s tongue-twisted trip to Britain before the London Olympics.
OUP spokeswoman Susie Dent said:
“The Oxford Dictionaries UK Word of the Year is a word, or expression, that we feel has attracted a great deal of interest during the year to date. In the case of omnishambles, we also recognized its linguistic productivity: a notable coinage coming from the word is ‘Romneyshambles’, coined in the UK to describe US presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s views on London’s ability to host a successful Olympic Games.”
The AFP reports that omnishambles may have been named the word of the year, but that doesn’t mean that it has earned a spot in the Oxford Dictionary. Omnishambles will have to “stand the test of time” before it becomes an official word.